One day when I was shooting some hoop, this sports dad a few feet away was berating his son for a severe lack of defensive prowess. Hearing a so-called man who had no problem loudly denigrating his own spawn was almost as depressing as seeing the shame and disappointment on the kid's fat face.
As a father, of course I would love for my son to choose a sport and try to excel in it. I'll never be the über-dad, pushing and prodding my boy to heights I was too unmotivated to even consider trying myself. A father should stand by his son, but what should he do when the kid commits an act that is unimaginably stupid and selfish?
Take the case of the Kellen Winslows Jr. and Sr. Dad had a prolific and revered career with the San Diego Chargers (still remarkably part of the NFL), son came from the University of Miami (Thug U.) and missed all but one entire game during his rookie pro season with the Cleveland Browns after breaking a bone.
Imagine how you'd feel if you had held out of your rookie camp until you got more money than any tight end in the pro game, and then had to face your teammates. You scramble through the preseason, and in your second game you break something. Highest-paid tight end now gets paid to sit the bench. You'd probably feel like you owed the team something, so you'd rehab like crazy and get ready for the upcoming season. I know if I were Kellen Winslow Jr. I would want to show the world how I could back up my claims to be "the chosen one."
On a May day, Junior had more exhilarating things on his mind than preparing for the upcoming NFL season. He and his posse rolled up on a motorcycle shop to hang out and watch some dudes race. As a new bike enthusiast, Kellen probably felt the same way a lot of kids feel after watching their sports heroes. Remember when you couldn't wait to get home from a game so you could throw the ball yourself, just like Nolan Ryan did? Well, Junior had an Evel (or at least Robbie) Knievel-like moment, decided to pop a wheelie and, 100 feet later, hit the curb that may have ended his football career.
Had young Kellen simply kept up on his sports news, he would have heard about Duke University stud Jay Williams, who had his pro contract with the Bulls waived after he shattered his share of bones in a motorcycle accident just a few years back. Athletes and performers in the public eye constantly have to make choices that could bring their gravy train to a screeching halt if not considered thoroughly. If Junior had gotten himself in amazing shape for the upcoming NFL season, he could have gotten to work at proving himself to be worthy of the millions he demanded. The "chosen one" made a bad choice of his own when deciding to speed on a motorcycle with a helmet loosely strapped on his chin.
Kellen Winslow Jr. was lucky to not break a single bone, but his luck ran out when it got to his anterior cruciate ligament, and that's going to put an end to his chances of playing professional football this season. Two seasons of pro football, one and a half games played, no touchdowns. Obviously, the Browns are exploring their options regarding what they'll have to pay the stupid kid, but he'll still get a few million nevertheless.
His dad didn't exactly take him out to the woodshed for a good old-fashioned ass-beating. Instead, Pops lashed out at the media for the way they chose to portray his namesake. "I'm disappointed in the way you guys have handled it. Twenty-one-year-old people make mistakes," he whined. "He made a mistake. You made it a circus. Remember when you were 21? A human being at 21 makes mistakes. He's not a piece of property."
Um, you're kind of a little bit wrong, sir. He or at least his ability to play is technically the Browns' property, after a few million dollars in payments for services they're unlikely to receive. Common mistakes of the 21-year-old include (but are not limited to) snorting up the rent money, alienating family and friends, driving drunk and blowing off work for no reason. Winslow's mistake was a decidedly uncommon one. If someone demands to be paid better than anyone else at his position, they have an obligation to make good choices and commit themselves to excellence. Kellen Winslow Sr. had a great teachable moment here, but decided a feeble and desperate attempt to shift the blame from his bad seed was the right course of action.
Bad Sport has an unquenchable thirst for news regarding possibly the worst sport ever, Terrell Owens, whose latest stunt is threatening to sit out next season rather than honor his current contract with the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles. Owens is claiming that he was coerced into the deal when he wanted out of last season's trade to Baltimore. He was forced to sign a measly seven-year, $49 million deal. Most reports say the Eagles are willing to play hardball and hold Terrell to the terms of his current contract. T.O., who earned an instant entry into the Quote Hall of Fame when he exclaimed "I love me some me," responded by proclaiming that he doesn't have to play for the Eagles this year. He also took a page out of Kobe Bryant's book, How To Make Your Teammates Hate You, when he dogged out his own quarterback for not coming through in the clutch in last year's Super Bowl.
Owens, along with recently hired super-agent/scum of the earth Drew Rosenhaus, is going to put forth an effort to portray a 31-year-old egomaniac with a dinged-up ankle as worth drastically more than $50 million over the next six years. When and if Philadelphia management calls Team Owens' bluff, Rosenhaus and Owens will set forth on their journey through the rest of the NFL. Owens' former employers the San Francisco 49ers (where T.O. homophobed that QB Jeff Garcia was light in the loafers), the Baltimore Ravens (where Owens didn't even let the ink dry on the deal before declaring it null and void) and the Eagles (see above) won't exactly give him glowing references.